Review Date: 2/14/21
Directed By: Tak Sakaguchi, Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura
Cast: Yumi Sugimoto, Yuko Takayama, Suzuka Morita, Tak Sakaguchi, cameo by Asami
Rin (Yumi Sugimoto) is about to turn sixteen when her arm mutates into a terrifying weapon and her parents are murdered by an anti-mutant military force. Attempting to escape an angry mob that wants to kill her, she slaughters everyone in her way until she's finally rescued by a transvestite mutant samurai named Kisaragi (Tak Sakaguchi) and recruited into his mutant army (which curiously consists entirely of teenage girls). Over the centuries, humans have tried to wipe out mutants, and now Kisaragi wants to stop hiding and strike back with an all-out war against humankind. Rin feels that the endless bloodshed and hate is wrong, and takes the fight back to Kisaragi, who has become an insane and bloodthirsty megalomaniac.
The film is divided into three distinct chapters, each directed by a different person. If you're familiar with the work of Noboru Iguchi and Yoshihiro Nishimura, then you know exactly what to expect: lots of gore, ultra-violence, and complete insanity. The most shocking and outrageous scene is when the mutant girls show off their "treasures," which include a chainsaw that comes out of a girl's ass and a pair of katanas that burst out of a girl's breasts. Only in Japan... The actresses are wonderful and Yumi Sugimoto gives an intense and heartfelt performance as an agonized adolescent struggling with mutant powers and trapped in a war she doesn't believe in. The social commentary and metaphors are glaringly obvious, but aren't the central theme. At its core, it's a film about love and friendship, doing what's right, and being strong in the face of adversity. The DVD comes with an extra short called "Yoshie Zero" that explores Yoshie's (Suzuka Morita) backstory, which is also a tale of love and misfortune.
The visual effects are a mixed bag. The practical gore effects are pretty good, but the CGI is terrible. However, given the outrageous premise of the film, the CGI accomplishes its goals, and the cheesiness just adds to the outrageousness. Even though Tak Sakaguchi was in charge of the action choreography and the cast consists almost entirely of "Kamen Rider" veterans, the action scenes are disappointingly weak. Even Asami pulls her punches too much, although her hilariously undignified demise reminds you of just how tongue-in-cheek the whole production is. Overall, despite the disgusting amount of gore, violence, and bloodshed, I enjoyed the film for its sweetness, purity, and innocence, and the mutant girls are all adorable. They fight against prejudice, oppression, and corruption, which is something we can all relate to (especially in the wake of Donald Trump's crimes against humanity).